Of svchost.exe And Problems

Quite recently, I began facing this really irritating svchost problem on my computer. I’m running Windows XP Service Pa(ni)ck Two, and really haven’t had this problem before. A certain process called svchost.exe began eating up most of the CPU power, and here I was, unable to do absolutely anything on my computer for the next five minutes to five hours.

Yes, the problem never had a defined period of time, and often came and went randomly. And if I decided to end the process from task manager, Windows reverted to the good ol’ Windows Classic theme, and convinced itself that it didn’t have any sound devices installed anymore. This was too much, and I decided to explore.

What is svchost.exe?

svchost.exe, as defined by Microsoft themselves

… checks the services part of the registry to construct a list of services that it must load. Multiple instances of Svchost.exe can run at the same time. Each Svchost.exe session can contain a grouping of services. Therefore, separate services can run, depending on how and where Svchost.exe is started. This grouping of services allows for better control and easier debugging.

For a quick check, click on Start and then, click on Run. In the Run dialog box, type cmd and smack enter. Congratulations. You are now in primitive, but more powerful, DOS mode.

Type tasklist /svc and hit enter. A long list of processes currently running will follow, along with the services it is taking care of. The svchost.exe entry is so prominent, that it’ll catch your eye when you scroll down the list. But contrary to what the movies force you to believe, typing something and getting a list of results is not hacking. (I’m talking about you, Swordfish).

Tasklist /svc

Tasklist /svc


Okay… Now what?

You’ve seen for yourself that ending that svchost.exe process will cause unprecedented and irrevocable damage to your computer, thus angering Lord William Henry Gates the Third, who will ensure that you rot in the bowels of hell forever! [Citation Needed]

Don’t worry. I have a solution. In fact, Mr Important, I have four simple solutions I have for you. You will, I know, make the right choice.

I was elected to lead. Not to read.

I was elected to lead. Not to read.

What’s the name again?

It is possible that the process you noticed in the task manager was not svchost.exe but scvhost.exe. The latter is a spyware, which will allow users to access your computer remotely. You must get rid of it at once by installing an anti-virus RIGHT NOW. You can also choose not to react to this situation, if you are totally okay with Ho Chi Minh’s grandson in Vietnam enjoying a holiday in Bermuda, with the money he stole from your bank account with the help of the net banking passwords he found on your PC.

Linux rules.

If you use your computer primarily for browsing the web, watching movies, playing music, or basically anything that does not involve gaming, you can switch to Linux. If you simply love orange colour, start with Ubuntu. If you’re a fan of black ‘n green, start with Linux Mint.

Best of all, Linux is free.

The real (temporary) solution.

It’s alright. It’s okay. You can keep that gun on the table. Heh. *wipes sweat off brow*. I was just joking. I know what the solution is. Heh. Right here.

So here’s a temporary solution. Basically, what I figured out was, that if you have a really old computer with automatic updates disabled, then Windows will try to get them by itself. So it forces you to update your operating system, if you don’t want to. And all this Nazi stuff is managed by one single process. You guessed it. svchost.exe.

So here’s what you do:

1] Open Task Manager, right-click on the svchost process, and click End Process. The process is gone. What follows is complete disruption of your computer’s sound capability. This is definite. Sometimes, even the themes may get messed up. To verify this, you can open that the Volume Control by clicking on the tiny speaker in the taskbar. Instead of getting a sound mixer, you’ll be greeted with this.



2] Click on Start button in the taskbar. Right-click on My Computer and click on Manage in the drop-down menu which follows.



3] In the right pane, double-click on Services and Application. Double-click on Services. If you get this, you’re on the right track.



4] Scroll down, and you’ll find something known as Windows Audio. When you select it by single-clicking, you’ll see its description on the left-hand side. Not the left pane. To the left of the list of services. The service is currently stopped.

Windows Audio

Windows Audio

5] To the immediate left of the services list, you’ll see Start the service. Click on Start.

Starting the Windows Audio Service

Starting the Windows Audio Service

You may follow the same procedure to restart the Themes service as well, if you want to.

But the problem is that this is still a temporary solution, so you’ll have to do this all over again when you restart your computer. So I suggest you Hibernate Windows, rather than restarting it or shutting it down.

The permanent solution

I suggest you do this after you’ve attempted the previous one. That will speed up work.

In the same Computer Management window in the above solution, search for Automatic Updates. Double-click it. You should see this.

Automatic Updates

See that Startup type: dropdown box? Yes, that one. Click it, and choose Disabled.

Automatic Updates Disabled

Automatic Updates Disabled

Then you click okay, and you can close all open windows now. Congratulations, sire, you have now fixed your computer.

I would be extremely grateful if you leave a comment below, or rate this post. Please let me know if this worked or not. Thank you!


  1. Tapas Trivedi · February 27, 2010

    Good thing Windows 7 users are out of this mess . . .

    • Aditya · February 27, 2010

      Lucky, to have such a good computer. I’m still stuck with the old one.

  2. Vivek · February 27, 2010

    See, the thing is that svchost.exe stands for Service Host. It acts like a mother process for other services to run under it. If you download Process Explorer, run it, and hover your mouse over the process, you’ll be able to see all its children services. And from that you can pinpoint the ones you don’t need, and the ones you think might be causing the problem.

    • Aditya · February 27, 2010

      I know. In fact, I’ve been using Process Explorer since I read about it from your about page. But the Windows Update thingy seems common to many machines, and I wanted users to resolve this issue without using any external third-party apps, (as many are have security concerns).
      BTW, Process Explorer is amazing. I’ve already replaced it with the default Task Manager.

  3. naynotes · February 28, 2010

    Nice Nice Nice…

  4. AnkurG · March 3, 2010

    I reckon you should remove Snap-shots from WordPress plugins. It annoys when a lump sweeps over the desktop quite un-wanted-ly. Simple hyperlink appeals more.

    • Aditya · March 9, 2010

      Sorry for the (very) late reply.
      I know about this Snap thingy. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I don’t. But I think I should remove it. Thanks!

  5. tanmay · May 17, 2010

    thnx fr the solution 😉

  6. victim of svchost · May 27, 2010

    youre the genius man, thanks for the help,
    but could you please tell me how to remove the svchost.exe file.

    Thanks in Advance

  7. victim of svchost · May 27, 2010

    hhoollyy craaap

    trying to end the svchost via task manager, it took my ability to move the icons on my desktop.


  8. Cody · July 17, 2010

    Thank you SOOOOOOOOO much for this!! My computer has been doing this for a month now and driving me insane! Thanks again. 🙂

  9. Tamara · October 15, 2010

    Hi, My names Tamara, Im using Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise edition service pack 2, And i have that problem, But its spelt svchost.exe and its taking up more mem usage then anything else, But its spelt right?! What do i do with this? I dont understand it, but my computer is downloading updates, without asking, And when i disable it, Cuts my sound, I tried following your steps, But server is not the same as Xp, Sooo…What do i do? lol

    • Aditya · October 15, 2010

      Then many other services may probably have been disabled as well. Try enabling them (which sound like the ones you need).

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